Temple people supporting Temple

The greatest 18-second video ever … 12K Temple students singing T for Temple U.

They are going to honor former Temple football coach Wayne Hardin on Saturday for his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. The players will be wearing the same uniforms, and hopefully helmets, that the Owls wore when Temple seemingly won all the time.

Coach said a lot of interesting things to me over the years, but maybe the most interesting had to do with Temple attendance.

“If you have just Temple people supporting Temple, you’d have no attendance problem,” he said. “Between the students and alumni and employees, you have enough people to fill the stadium.”

This should be on every floor of every dorm on campus.

This should be on every floor of every dorm on campus.

That makes sense.

So how many people will be there when Temple makes its home debut in the American Athletic Conference?
I’m not good at a lot of things, but this unfortunately is one of them.
Or thereabouts.
Unless I’m pleasantly surprised about Temple attendance, which is rarely.
The problem is two-fold: Students and alumni.
Students now have little excuse. There are about 14,000 living on campus. Plenty of free buses are available if they can’t get a ride and there is a subway stop out the front door of their dorm that ends right at the stadium. So they can even fall asleep on the subway and not fear they’ll miss their stop.

Matt Rhule, more than any Temple coach
I’ve ever seen, has done his level
best to reverse it. He’s given spirit
pep talks in every dorm, including
the new Morgan Hall. He’s even had
the football players help the kids
move in at every dorm everywhere.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s there
at 7 a.m. with a bullhorn and physically
dragging kids out of their beds and onto
the subway. That might be what it takes

There was a lot of great student momentum two years ago. Over 10,000 students attended the Villanova game and made a lot of noise (see video above). Then there was the Penn State game and there were 14,000 students making more noise. To me, there should be 14,000 students at every game (10K of the 14K living on campus and 4K of the remaining 25K commuters is not too much to ask). Maybe that’s just me, though. I haven’t missed a home game in 30 years and even that was job-related.
Last year, though, was another story.
The first home game against Maryland there were only about 2,000 students.
It was worse against Rutgers, despite the Owls taking a 2-0 Big East record into the game. Maybe 1,000 students attended.
Don’t exactly know what happened there, but it’s not a good trend.
Matt Rhule, more than any Temple coach I’ve ever seen, has done his level best to reverse it. He’s given spirit pep talks in every dorm, including the new Morgan Hall. He’s even had the football players help the kids move in at every dorm everywhere. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s there at 7 a.m. with a bullhorn and physically dragging kids out of their beds and onto the subway. That might be what it takes.

Coach Rhule pumping up the students at Morgan Hall. I wonder if that was named for former Diamond Gem Roxie Morgan?

Coach Rhule pumping up the students at Morgan Hall. I wonder if that was named for former Diamond Gem Roxie Morgan?

Temple people supporting Temple.
There are 139,000 alumni living within one hour’s drive of Lincoln Financial Field. Asking for at least 10 percent of them to attend is not too much to ask.

Way too many alumni, though, sit at home and watch the games on TV (Temple is a TV powerhouse; when the games are on local TV, the Owls outdraws other college games on a regular basis, so the evidence of coach-potato-itis is there).

Yet we have one grad who owns a bar down the shore who didn’t attend the Eagle Bank Bowl, despite it being the first bowl the school played in for 30 years. The Atlantic City press did a story on him. He and his bartender were just about the only people in the bar watching the game. You think he could have let the bartender run things for one day and made the trip to D.C.? You think? Then there was another Temple person who missed that game because it was “too cold.” Get that man a coat and some mittens, get the other guy to  take a day off from work and get the coach potato alumni off the couches and into the stadium and the attendance “problem” is solved.

There you have it, a 30K baseline at every Temple game. At least. Then you can build it up from there.

Temple people supporting Temple. Maybe someday. Maybe Saturday.

These girls have caught Temple Smallpox. It’s the best kind.

Tomorrow: That lost bag of tricks


12 thoughts on “Temple people supporting Temple

  1. Mike – Of my 13 season tickets for this year, 6 are owned by non-Temple fans. Their only affiliation is through myself and my friends. They show as much, if not more pride than a lot of Temple fans at games (at times TOO much pride). I just can’t wrap my head around the fact that Temple can’t draw to a BEAUTIFUL NFL stadium even on gorgeous days. I went to South Bend this past weekend and man, I was more than underwhelmed by that stadium. Yet they have 80,000+15,000 fans in the stadium and in the area surrounding it on gameday, of course that is Notre Dame… We’ll get there, get back on track, get to a bowl this year, win the AAC championship next year and boom… 30k+


  2. We’ve got to take advantage of this great home field we have. Seats are right on top of the action. There is no track separating the fans. They’ve got to be just as loud as those kids in the video were. Hopefully, coach Rhule keeps his promise and stops by the Owlbulance for a photo op on the way in on Saturday morning. I’ll be there as early as I can convince Give-A-Hoot to pick me up.

  3. The beat-up 2004 Chevy Cavalier has died, but at least I’m still alive (knock on wood). Relying on Give-A-Hoot to get me there from Northeast Philly early enough to enjoy the pre-game atmosphere.

  4. can’t wait!! any news on the injury front? heard Houston lost the left side of their OL last week…., did we lose a recruit last week? thought we had 18 commits? think we’ll do 20K fans or more for the home opener

    • Rhule said yesterday at the presser no significant injuries. A couple of backup receivers, Tyler Karpinski and Sam Benjamin, were reportedly banged up but the Owls are deep at WR. When you play a team that hits as hard at ND and come out relatively unscathed, that’s good news. Yes, we did lose a recruit. Funderburk. He wants to play in the BCS, yet he failed to recognize that Temple has has many players in the NFL as any BCS school. I thought that was the goal.

  5. It’s not all the fans fault for not showing up, though they are part of the problem. The Temple Administration needs to own up that they do not actively engage alumni. Even the new Visualize project, in the entire hour long presentations I’ve sat through they NEVER uttered the world “alumni” a single time. That kind of neglect is also part of the problem that contributes to turnout issue.

    Also, as someone who was on the gymnastics team, watching our team’s budget get stripped year after year to fund football and we’ve yet to see any benefit from the sacrifice. That turns off lots of people who were part of the Olympic Sports teams. We already have school pride. We turnout. And we are good fans. But the lack of support from the Admin and the football fans for our sports is completely one-sided. And now we are hearing rumors that they are going to potentially cut several Olympic sports teams. I’m venting here — the conversation is always one-sided….the day I see the Admin taking accountability for building a great athletic program all around and when football fans actually start supporting other teams too……then that’s when we’ll really see turnout increases. But right now…there’s a lot of bad blood. The issues run deep. And it’s a very one-sided discussion.

    • President Theobald was quoted as saying in the Inquirer story two Sundays ago that with the football attendance they can fund the Olympic sports, so if the Olympic sports people come out to the football games and bring friends, they are only helping themselves. The less people at the football games, the more the Olympic sports are cut. If Temple ever drew 40K average in football, all sports are fully funded. That should be the goal.

      • The problem is that the current AD has said a number of times behind closed doors that Temple is likely to cut several Olympic sports completely. The ballpark estimate was cutting around 4 teams and maybe add men’s lacrosse.

        I also want increased attendance at football games. But it is not feasible to get 40K average at football games yet. In the future, maybe. But today, tomorrow, and probably for another 10 years — the statistics are limited it will happen. Until that happens, should all the other sports teams suffer? How about the Olympic sports alumni who are supporting football but are gradually watching Temple kill the programs that defined our college experience?

        The reason I enjoy reading your blog, Mike, is because you are proud of Temple football history. I love your older stories and find them very informative. Temple gymnastics also has a rich and proud history. One of the top NCAA programs for nearly 90 years. We also deserve people in our stands. We deserve the Administration’s respect for basic upgrades. And we deserve due credit for being a large part of Temple’s student experience just like the other sports teams that are rarely mentioned but constantly win. We are part of Temple’s history. And that’s why I’m speaking up. If Theobald is serious about making football part of Temple’s experience then he needs to unite people behind him. Cutting teams with rich histories are not the way of doing that. We should be promoting each other and lifting each other up. But that isn’t what is happening — Olympic sports alumni are largely supporting football but we haven’t seen the same effect come to our sports teams. It’s very very sad for people who proudly represented this school.

  6. Clay – you are as misguided as most of the former athletes at Temple. Gymnastics is awesome. Great for you. You got to travel and compete in the sport you chose. Temple provided you that opportunity. If you want to support Temple Gymnastics – make a donation. If you want to see Temple keep as many opportunities in all sports available – buy tickets to football and basketball games. This “hatred” towards football is just plain stupid. The economics of college sports is this….. Football and Basketball have the opportunity to make money, gain television exposure and bring alumni back to campus. Gymnastics does none of this. None. Zero. Title IX is a major problem. The current NCAA structure is what it is…. The power conferences dictate everything. You do understand that Gymnastics loses money every single day that there is a dedicated practice facility for that sport. NO opportunity to generate $$$ or fan support. Temple just competed on National TV for 3 and 1/2 hours – try getting that type of exposure anywhere.
    Comprehend the real issues…. Or you can just be a part of the problem…..

    • Phil — you have many flaws in your argument. For one, I grew up in South Carolina in the middle of ACC/SEC country. Going to football games every Friday night. I love football and am at 90% of the Temple games. Two, I donate to Temple gymnastics every year along with 300+ other donors. Together we fund almost the ENTIRE budget. We now only get 2 scholarships a year from Temple (less than $50,000). That’s down from 5 to 8 scholarships 15 years ago. This year the team didn’t even have enough money for a charter bus to drive to SUNY – Brockport. We all chipped in paying $200/each so the students could go. Four, I got to travel and compete? I redshirted and received $0.00 dollars despite that I represented my university at a national level and ranked in the Top 20 in the country going into NCAAs may senior year. Five, gymnastics doesn’t bring exposure? Temple was one of the DRIVING forces that brought the Olympic Trails to Philadelphia. We’ve hosted NCAAs. We compete against Oklahoma, OSU, Penn State, UC-Berk, ASU, UI, Nebraska, Army, Navy, Airforce, Washington, MIT, Iowa, Minnesota, etc. Some of those schools PACK their auditoriums for gymnastics competitions. And Temple is constantly ranked in the Top 12 in the country. You may not think that’s exposure but considering the millions of aspiring gymnasts across the country who follow the sport, it puts Temple’s name up there with some big named schools….something that football has not done in 30 years. Six, Temple gymnastics has been around since the 1930s and we win our conference just about every year.

      I’m not hating on football. But I’m saying they have not performed. And they have certainly not contributed a dime of revenue to the university. And if you want to talk about exposure — the amount of negative exposure they gave the university offsets anything good. Is it possible for them to be good in the future? Maybe. It’s a gamble. And it’s also a cost that has yet to pay off.

      As your post shows, you have a one set mind when it comes to athletics…and that’s football/basketball. Meanwhile I’m at most all the games I can attend, donate, support my team. Yet I watch an Administration not supporting my team. When they renovated McGonigle, the gymnastics facility didn’t get get touched — not even cleaned except for the spot on the floor from the leak in the ceiling they created. I’m not saying we deserve a new $15m facility. I’m saying Temple didn’t even clean the chalk off our walls, replace any lightbulbs, or buy a stick of new equipment for us. We have to fundraise it ourselves…more and more each year as our budget is drained going to a team that hasn’t delivered. A team that I support and cheer for. But it’s bittersweet as the Temple football fans want all our support but don’t want to support us. If you want a dynamic university with people filling the. stadium then you should sit yourself in McGonigle hall in support for gymnastics, volleyball, fencing, etc as well. It’s a two way street.

  7. Good points Mike. not sure how Rhule will get more fans in the stands. I hope he is persistent and keeps the enthusiasm up, because it might be rough going at first. Just winning football games isn’t enough. We proved that in the MAC. Beating Buffalo will not draw any extra crowds. Beating Uconn, Cincy, and even Houston might be a little more encouraging for students and alumni. The American will garner more attention so hopefully that builds interest. This is my first year as an alumni and I got my season ticket package. Taking the 9month old to his first game Saturday. I’ll hopefully breed a few more Temple fans. Go Owls

    • Thanks, Chuck. Someone asked me what I thought Temple needed to do to to start consistently drawing 30-40K. One of two things: A marquee win over a ranked team or have a guy going for the Heisman for a winning team. Asking for a lot here, but that’s why I thought being aggressive against ND should have meant more than throwing the ball underneath 47 times. A win over ND and Temple would have 40K for Houston. Next chance is to win out until 10/5 AND beat Louisville. It’s hard, but nothing great is easy.

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